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What to Do along the Jordan King's Highway

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Jordan's ultimate road trip is the King's Highway, which swoops over the high ridge of the Great Rift Valley. While the landscape of rolling plains interspersed with views of barren cliffs tumbling down to the Dead Sea basin is enough of a reason to drive this road, it's the history here that is its greatest highlight. This is an ancient route, traveled by kings, conquerors, and Crusaders. A road trip here is a journey into Jordan's past.
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Al-Quds St., Amman, Jordan
Pilgrims since the Byzantine period have claimed this spot to be where Moses finally saw the Promised Land, and where the prophet died. Today, the Moses Memorial Church here (a modern construction, built over an earlier Byzantine church) is home...
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K. Talal St. 30, Madaba, Jordan
Interred in the floor of St. George's Church in Madaba is one of the most important surviving artistic relics of the Byzantine era. The famous Madaba Map was once an intricate map of holy land sites covering modern-day Jordan, Israel, and the...
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Al Jizah, Madaba, Jordan
For knockout views of Madaba, plus the fun of scrambling around oversize bells on your way up the bell tower, don't leave Madaba without visiting the Shrine of the Beheading of John the Baptist Latin Church. Built over Madaba's ancient acropolis,...
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Madaba, Jordan
Mukawir (ancient Machaerus), a short drive off the King's Highway, is said to be where John the Baptist lost his head after Salome danced for King Herod. There are only scant remains of Herod the Great's castle on the conical mountaintop, but...
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Umm ar-Rasas, Jordan
One of the joys of visiting Umm ar-Rasas is the lack of other people. These extensive ruins may be home to some of Jordan's most magnificently preserved mosaics, but there's hardly ever another visitor in sight. The main focus is St Stephen's...
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Kerak, Jordan
The number-one highlight of the King's Highway is Karak Castle, with its immense fortifications dominating the provincial town of Karak. Built in AD 1140, Karak was one of the last outposts held by the Crusaders after Jerusalem was recaptured by...
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Shamakh, Jordan
For a spot of nature between all the history sights, you can't beat spending the night at Dana Biosphere Reserve. For hikers and trekkers, this is one of Jordan's top places to get out into the wilderness, but even non-walkers will enjoy a stop...
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Shobak, Jordan
Built in 1115, Shobak was originally named Mont Realis by the Crusaders and formed part of their defensive line that stretched from Jerusalem down into southern Jordan. Today Shobak occupies a lonely hillock summit amid rolling plains and has a...